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Whole meals: Meat cells grown on rice grains pack same nutrients & smell, claim Chinese scientists

The dish that is produced has the smell of both rice and meat, and also comes with all nutritional requirements like carbohydrates, protein, minerals and vitamin.
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 08:03 IST

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Meat is consumed by a huge chunk of the world population, but production of the same is a painstaking process that takes up a lot of water and land, and is also a driving factor behind increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists in China are now claiming to have found a way in which they can grow meat cells directly on grains of rice.

The research, albeit not yet published in peer-reviewed journals, was carried out by the China Meat Research Centre of the Beijing Academy of Food Sciences. The news was first reported by the state newspaper Science and Technology Daily.

South China Morning Post spoke to the chief scientist of the project, Wang Shouwei, who revealed that meat cells of both chicken and pork have been embedded into rice grains, but are visually indistinguishable from each other. “But once cooked, they release a combined aroma of both meat and rice," he told the publication.

Wang also said that there is a difference between what his team is trying to do and cell-cultured artificial meat, since the latter is made using synthetic carriers that are expensive and “often raise food safety concerns and inflate production costs”.

“Rice on the other hand provides a natural, edible alternative – rich in fibre and other beneficial nutrients," Wang further told SCMP.

SCMP quoted the state newspaper revealing that the rice is first pre-treated and then a layer of pork or chicken cells is grown on a grain's surface.

Thus, the dish that is produced has the smell of both rice and meat, and also comes with all nutritional requirements like carbohydrates, protein, minerals and vitamin.

The publication reveals that this is not the first time that such an attempt has been made. Earlier this year, South Korea's Yonsei University also produced rice layered with beef cells wherein the grains of rice were coated with enzymes and fish gelatin, which would be the nutritional base for meat cells to grow.

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Published 02 July 2024, 08:03 IST

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